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An Oracle against Babylon

13 The oracle of Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

Raise a signal on a bare hill,
    lift up your voice to them;
    wave the hand and may they enter the gateways of the noblemen.
I myself I have commanded my consecrated ones,
    I have also summoned my mighty warriors concerning my anger,
    the ones who exalt over[a] my majesty.
A sound, a noise is on the mountains,
    the likeness of many people!
A sound of the roar of the kingdoms,
    of nations gathering!
Yahweh of hosts is mustering an army for battle.
They are coming from a distant land,
    from the end of the heavens,
Yahweh and the weapons of his indignation,
    to destroy the whole earth.[b]
Wail, for the day of Yahweh is near;
    it will come like destruction from Shaddai![c]
Therefore all hands will grow slack,
    and every human heart will melt,
    and they will be dismayed.
Pangs and labor pains will seize them;
    they will tremble like a woman giving birth.
They will stare at one another,[d]
    their faces flushing.[e]
Look! The day of Yahweh is coming,
    cruel and wrath and the burning of anger,
to make the earth a desolation,
    and he will destroy its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not flash forth their light;
    the sun will keep back when it comes out,
    and the moon will not cause its light to shine.
11 And I will punish the world for its evil
    and the wicked for their iniquity.
And I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant,
    and I will bring the haughtiness of tyrants low.
12 I will make humanity more rare than gold
    and humankind more than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
    and the earth will quake from its place
because of the wrath of Yahweh of hosts,
    and in the day his anger burns.

14 And this shall happen:

like a hunted gazelle or sheep with none to gather them,[f]
they will each turn to his own people,
    and they will each flee to his own land.
15 Everyone who is found will be pierced through,
    and everyone who is carried away will fall by the sword.
16 And their children will be dashed into pieces before their eyes;
    their houses will be plundered, and their wives will be raped.[g]
17 Look! I am stirring the Medes up against them,
who do not value silver
    and do not delight in gold.
18 And their bows will shatter young men.
    And they will not show mercy on the fruit of the womb;
    their eyes will not look compassionately on children.

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be like when God overthrew[h] Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It will not be inhabited forever,
    and it will not be dwelled in forever;[i]
and no Arab will pitch a tent there,
    and shepherds will not allow their flocks to lie down there.
21 But wild animals will lie down there,
    and their houses will be full of howling creatures,
and the daughters of ostriches[j] will live there,
    and goats will dance there.
22 And hyenas will answer in its palaces,
    and jackals in the pleasure palaces;
and its time is coming soon,[k]
    and its days will not be prolonged.


  1. Isaiah 13:3 Literally “exultant of”
  2. Isaiah 13:5 Literally “all of the land/earth”
  3. Isaiah 13:6 Often translated “the Almighty”
  4. Isaiah 13:8 Literally “A man will stare at his neighbor”
  5. Isaiah 13:8 Literally “faces of flames”
  6. Isaiah 13:14 Literally “and without one who gathers”
  7. Isaiah 13:16 The reading tradition (Qere) softens this to “slept with”
  8. Isaiah 13:19 Literally “the overthrow by God of”
  9. Isaiah 13:20 Literally “until generation and generation”
  10. Isaiah 13:21 Hebrew “ostrich”
  11. Isaiah 13:22 Literally “close to come”